By Tim Chambers
Tomahawk Sports Editor
Trying to find a win for Johnson County has been like trying to locate a wheat penny in an aquarium full of coins. They’re getting close, but the search is still on.The Lady Longhorns came up one run short; falling 6-5 to Happy Valley on Tuesday at Bob Kirksey Field. They rallied to score three times in the sixth and added one run in the seventh. Happy Valley’s freshman pitcher Abby Holt struck out the final batter with the bases loaded. The Longhorns left 14 runners on base in the seven-inning affair.
“It’s frustrating for the girls because every game appears to go right down to the wire,” said Johnson County’s head coach Angela Blevins. “We’re starting three freshmen, three sophomores and sometimes four so we’re still searching for the right combinations. Emmy Mille hit the ball as hard as she could twice, but two great plays by them saved five or six runs. I still believe in these kids, and they’re playing well, but we have to eliminate mistakes.”
Blevins couldn’t have said it any better about Miller.She missed a three-run homer by a few feet in the second on a ball the centerfield snow coned. She also ripped a hard smash down the third base line in the fifth that was backhanded with the bases loaded for a force out. Happy Valley never trailed in the game and went up 2-0 in the first inning. Katlyn Roberts and Olivia Absher led off with infield singles and scored on a sacrifice fly and a ground ball out.They struck again for two more in the fifth to up their advantage at 4-0.
Olivia Kelly singled in Absher who had singled, and she later scored on a base hit by Maci Puckett. Johnson County got on the board in the fifth without collecting a single base hit. Lindsey Wills walked and later scored to pull the Horns within 4-1, but the Warriors would get that one back in the sixth on Roberts’ RBI double scoring Holt who had singled.The Lady Longhorns struck for three in the sixth to pull within one, but it couldn’t have been more.
Maddie Edington reached on an error, Courtney Brooks singled, and Wills walked to load the bases. Hannah Brooks was intentionally walked, one of five times for her in the game. Natalie Winters provided an infield single helping the Horns get within one at 5-4, but the next two batters flew out to end the threat.
Happy Valley took advantage of a dropped fly ball in the seventh to pick up an insurance run to remain in front 6-4.
The Longhorns loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh after they had pushed across a run to pull back within one. Courtney Brooks doubled to put runners at second and third, and Hannah Brooks was intentionally walked for the fifth time in the game. Holt struck out the final out giving the Longhorns’ another heartbreaking loss.
Courtney Brooks had a big day at the plate going 4-for-5 with a run scored. Winters provided a pair of infield singles going 2-for-4. Willis and Lakatos had the only other hits. Hannah Brooks never saw one single pitch in the game walking a remarkable five times.
Roberts, Absher, and Holt had two hits apiece for the Lady Warriors.
Blevins knows it’s a grind for her young team but feels like they’re up to the challenge.
“These girls are giving their all, so something good is going to happen for them soon,” added Blevins. “We have to overcome our youth by scoring more runs and hitting the ball better. I believe these kids are going to do that.”
Happy Valley 200 021 1 – 6 10 2
Johnson Co 000 013 1– 5
Holt and Kelly. H. Brooks and E. Miller.
WP—Holt, LP—H. Brooks